Even though you may be involved in a business dispute in Clearwater, FL, there are alternatives to costly, protracted litigation. Arbitration is an option to keep your disagreement out of court, but there are a few factors you should understand before getting started with the process.
Overview of Business Arbitration
There are a few different ways of working out business disputes without resorting to litigation, termed alternative dispute resolution (ADR). The American Arbitration Association (AAA) is one of the most renowned, respected resources for handling the process.
There are advantages to resolving a disagreement through these channels, with lower costs and less time at the top of the list. Arbitration is one of the most common forms of ADR.
During arbitration proceedings, disputing individuals or entities bring their issue before a third-party, neutral professional who is specially licensed to oversee the proceedings. The arbitrator listens to the evidence and makes a decision, which may or may not be legally binding on the parties. It’s very different from mediation, another type of ADR. Mediation is more of a conversation between parties to a dispute, with a neutral party whose job is to encourage compromise.
How Corporate Arbitration Works
In most cases, parties will head to arbitration because it’s required by a contract or law. Both parties are allowed to retain an attorney, and it’s wise to have legal representation at all phases of the proceedings.
The process starts as a business-related disagreement develops, and one party files a Demand for Arbitration to the AAA. After the AAA communicates the issue to the other party, the arbitration case proceeds as follows:
- Based upon the subject matter, the AAA works with the parties to choose an arbitrator.
- There will be an initial hearing, overseen by the appointed arbitrator. The parties and their attorneys talk about the issues at the center of the dispute, and discuss such procedural issues as witnesses and essential documents.
- The parties exchange relevant information and arrange for depositions of key witnesses.
- The arbitrator schedules a hearing for the parties to present testimony and documentary evidence. This proceeding is similar to a trial, but some aspects of the hearing are more relaxed. Plus, there are confidentiality rules in most cases.
- If necessary or requested by the arbitrator, the parties can submit additional documents, statements, and other key evidence after the hearing concludes.
- The arbitrator concludes the arbitration process by issuing a decision, which may include an award if one party sustained monetary damages as a result of the dispute. An arbitrator also has the power to order equitable relief, such as a requirement for one party to complete performance of a contract.
Trust a Clearwater Business Litigation Lawyer to Assist with Corporate Arbitration
If you’re involved in a business dispute and want to know more about how arbitration works, please contact Clearwater Business Law at (727) 785-5100. We can schedule a consultation to answer your questions and explain what to expect throughout the process. Our attorneys represent clients in Clearwater, FL and throughout Pinellas County in all types of business disputes, and you can rely on our team to protect your interests.